It has recently been reported that the number of people returning to Court for a financial settlement after their Divorce has doubled. In 2008 only 3620 claims were brought after the Divorce had been concluded. Last year this increased to 29,060.
It is suggested the reason for this may be the impact of the recession is lessening. There are more funds available to pursue a financial settlement from a former partner. It may also be that there is a perception that the former partner has more money available to be pursued.
Whatever the reason, it highlights the danger of not resolving financial matters within Divorce proceedings.
When parties divorce they have the opportunity to apply to the Court for financial provision, or to ask the Court to record a financial agreement reached. If this is not done at the time of the Divorce then those claims will often remain open indefinitely. They can be pursued many years in the future.
A recent case of Wyatt –v- Vince has allowed a wife to claim over 20 years after the Divorce. At the time of the Divorce the parties had no funds whereas the husband has now “become quite wealthy”.
If you have been Divorced and have not had a financial settlement then now may be the time to obtain that finality. It is only once a Court has ordered that no further claims can be made that there is a definite Clean Break between the parties. Until that time it is generally open for the other spouse to claim in the future. Even if the claim is successfully resisted there will inevitably be costs, both emotional and financial in defending such proceedings.
Every case depends on its own specific facts and you should obtain independent legal advice based on your circumstances.
Shauna Finch – Solicitor at Coles Law